Travelling to Italy with Victoria: Prato and Artimino

Article published in l’Italo Americano on May 25, 2015 by Victoria de Maio:

Victoria takes us to the second stop of her journey…let’s see where she ends up to!

Since I don’t drive here i’m always looking for other ways to explore. So when I saw an opportunity to take a day trip to Prato, I decided to go for it! That’sPrato is a pilot project and effort to promote Prato’s cultural heritage. Fom early May to early July they’re offering four different itineraries for 10 Sundays- free!

My timing was perfect to join “The Etruscan Past” program. All I had to do was register and show up at the appointed meeting place on Sunday morning and be prepared to pay 5€ for entrance tickets! We were driven in comfort in our motorcoach to Prato, which is a mere 30 minutes from Florence. Prato has a population of over 200,000 and is the third largest city in central Italy. it is trying to change its image from industrial to emphasizing it’s museums, monuments and cultural heritage. Since 2015 is the Year of the Etruscans, this is a perfect way for Prato to share their Etruscan heritage.

Our first stop is the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo of Cathedral di S. Stefano. The cathedral museum is home to many treasures including works by Fillipo Lippi and Botticelli and the fabulous Donatello pulpit carved from Carrara marble and used only for a specific religious event.

Leaving Prato, our next stop will be Comeana and a visit to the Etruscan tombs of Montefortini. Around the 7th century BC, the Etruscans settled in this area. By the 1st century BC, they had appeared which coincides with the arrival of the Romans. These two tombs or tholos with their beehive shaped chambers, were only discovered in 1966. Both tombs belonged to the same family, which must have been very important because of the size of the tombs.

Already our morning has been fantastic…and there’s more! For lunch with a view we are driven up to Artimino, a very small hamlet with only 62 full-time residents. But today is Sunday and all of the local restaurants are full of friends, families or weddings enjoying this spectacular day. Even the Medicis once enjoyed the view here-they chose this location for one of their 17 villas.

Our last stop is the Museo Archeologico Artimino where you can see the treasures from the Etruscan tombs. What a fantastic day! Grazie That’s Prato and to our terrific guides, Silvia and Illaria!

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